Patients with Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor can now opt to use a new device that can help alleviate their symptoms. Friday, June 12, 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Association approved a device that can be implanted in the brain to help people battling Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. The Brio Neurostimulation System is intended to help some patients when medication alone may not provide adequate relief from symptoms such as walking difficulties, balance problems, and tremors.
The National Institutes of Health estimates that 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, and about one million Americans have the condition. Parkinson’s disease typically occurs in adults over 60, when dopamine-producing cells become impaired or die. Dopamine helps transmit signals in the brain that produce smooth, purposeful movement. Essential tremor affects several million people and usually occurs in those over age 40.
This new device developed by St. Jude Medical can be implanted under the skin of the upper chest with wires that run up to electrodes in the brain of the patient. The battery-powered implant will continuously send electrical pulses to the brain to regulate constant stimulation.
William Maisel, M.D., M.P.H., acting director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, remarks on the benefits of this new technology, saying:
There are no cures for Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor, but finding better ways to manage symptoms is essential for patients. This new device adds to the array of treatment options to help people living with Parkinson’s and essential tremor enjoy better, more productive lives.”
Mackenzie is a Marketing Fellow and a rising junior at Villanova University. She is planning to co-major in Marketing and Finance and minor in Business Entrepreneurship. As a part of her studies, she has created and presented a comprehensive marketing plan to professionals from The Vanguard Group featuring Vanguard's exchange-traded funds.